clear
Sunday May 29th, 2016 5:35PM

Judge hears arguments on blocking Ga. abortion law

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- A judge is considering whether to block Georgia's new law that bans abortions after 20 weeks pending the outcome of a legal challenge after hearing arguments from both sides Thursday.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Doris Downs said she would decide by the end of next week whether to temporarily block the new law from taking effect as scheduled on Jan. 1.

The law bans doctors from performing abortions five months after an egg is fertilized, except when doctors decide a fetus has a defect so severe it is unlikely to live. The law also makes an exception to protect the life or health of the mother, though that does not apply to a mother's mental health.

Under existing law, women can seek an abortion for any reason during the first six months of pregnancy. During the final three months, doctors can perform abortions only to protect the life or health of the mother.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit on behalf of three obstetricians challenging the law's constitutionality. The lawsuit says the exceptions are too narrow and that doctors could face prison even when they are treating patients "in accordance to the best medical judgment." The ACLU also says the law violates the state's privacy protections as provided for in the state constitution.

ACLU lawyer Alexa Kolbi Molinas argued that the law should be barred from taking effect Jan. 1 because it would cause "irreparable harm" to the health, lives and well-being of the doctors' patients. She also said the law allows the state to intrude into the most private and intimate details of patients' personal lives by allowing district attorneys seemingly unrestricted access to medical records.

The state argues that blocking the law from taking effect as scheduled would harm the state by going against the will of the General Assembly. Nels Peterson, a lawyer for the state, also argued that the ACLU's claims about the law allowing the state to intrude into patients' personal lives are unfounded because a Georgia statute on the books for nearly 40 years has already given district attorneys the rights in question and hasn't given rise to any complaints.

Georgia passed the law this year, becoming the seventh state in the country to approve a so-called fetal pain act. The law is modeled after a 2010 measure in Nebraska that inspired similar bills in Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana and Oklahoma. It departs from standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court, which allow states to limit abortions when there is a reasonable chance the fetus could survive outside the womb, generally considered to be 23 or 24 weeks.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 3 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 3 years ago )
Local/State News
Amid shouts of 'shame,' House GOP defeats gay rights measure
Democrats shouted "shame," but House Republicans switched their votes and defeated a measure to protect gay rights
8:03PM ( 1 week ago )
CDC director Freiden warns GOP Zika bill is inadequate
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Wednesday that a House GOP measure to combat the Zika virus is inadequate to deal with the swelling threat to public health
7:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Trump unveils list of his top picks for Supreme Court
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.
3:31PM ( 1 week ago )
1st US penis transplant could bring hope to maimed soldiers
A 64-year-old cancer patient has received the nation's first penis transplant, a groundbreaking operation that may also help U.S. veterans maimed by roadside bombs
8:04PM ( 1 week ago )
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use
Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere are vowing defiance over the Obama administration's new directive on transgender bathroom use
9:19PM ( 2 weeks ago )